“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I remember someone saying this to me a few years ago as I enthusiastically shared the details of an “aha moment” when I gained the clarity needed to manage a challenging situation.
A few days ago, I had another “aha moment.” Worried about the outcome of a transaction that I was repeatedly trying to complete online, I finally asked for help. There was a phone call, an email and then the help centre closed down for the night. I was frustrated by my inability to manage and resolve this situation on my own. I was impatient with the seemingly slow pace of responses to my inquiries.
The teacher appears
I finally accepted that there was nothing else I could do at that time to have the transaction resolved. Not wanting to go any further down the path of frustration leading to anxiety and defensive thinking, which was my usual way of handling difficult situations, I decided that I would let this experience be a teaching moment from God. I paused to recall and reflect on the Bible verse I had read during my daily devotions earlier in the day.
“And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait? My hope (my confident expectation) is in You.”Psalm 39:7 AMP
The Bible verse was exactly what I needed. I went to bed, determined not to worry about the outcome of my incomplete transaction. I prayed for patience, made a commitment to surrender the outcome to God and asked for a peaceful night’s sleep.
When I checked my email the following morning, there was a cheerful message from the help centre agent, promising to resolve the problem within 2 to 3 business days. In that moment, I was reassured, as a thought came to me, “It is safe to let go, and allow the right outcome.” As I said these words out loud, I felt peace, deep-seated and unmoveable, take root in my spirit.
I am convinced that my decision to surrender the outcome to God and to pray for a good night’s sleep opened the way for me to accept the 2 to 3 business-day period of waiting while the problem was being sorted out and hopefully, resolved. I fully accepted that the resolution, will be the right and best outcome that God has for me.
Who is the teacher?
Later in the day, I received a phone call from an inmate who I met through the prison ministry. He expressed concerns about the timing of a parole hearing for the approval of his transition to a halfway house and for his day release to attend a course in welding. He needed to know the date of the parole hearing, as the decisions made at the hearing will impact a series of other time-sensitive approvals that he needed. For example, his application to the halfway house of his choice, the government grant to pay for his course and his expenses while in the halfway house and decisions regarding the number of escorted visits he could have with his family. He said that his parole officer was on vacation. An intern who replaced the officer was attentive to his situation, but he was unsure if the intern was able to set the dates for the parole hearing. He admitted to feeling anxious and somewhat impatient. And who wouldn’t be, after 29 years in prison?
I remained quiet as I listened to him expressing his concerns. Then, recalling the Bible verse from my devotions the day before, I reassured him that all of his concerns will be resolved at the right time as God is in absolute control. I said this with the deep-seated conviction that I felt in the “aha moment” earlier that morning. He agreed with me and affirmed that this experience of waiting was teaching him patience and that he was willing to accept the outcome as God’s will.
“Was I now the teacher?” I asked myself after the call.
Interestingly, while doing a Google search on the origin of the adage “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” I discovered that there is an additional sentence that completes the adage: “When the student is truly ready, the teacher disappears.”
I took this to mean that whenever we understand what we have been taught, we become teachers. This is the essence of discipleship and the great commission, two inextricably linked responsibilities that Jesus fulfilled and calls us to fulfill.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28: 19-20 AMP
The great commission is not an option, but a command from Jesus. Our call to teach and to make others teachers, is an on-going activity. It never stops.
Being ready means that we are willing to be taught. We must come to God, through Jesus to learn from His teachings, what He wants us to know, what He wants us to be and what He wants us to do. What we learn must lead to a commitment of the heart, mind and will. Learning requires going beyond ideas that reside for the most part in the intellect.
True learning leads to a heartfelt conviction and the commitment to act. To fulfill the great commission, we must be willing to identify the needs of people in our community and beyond and decide on the personal and collective effort to help others and spread the Good News. We teach others by spreading the Good News of Jesus’ teachings and by the way we respond to people’s needs – whether spiritual, material or otherwise.
At the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus, having fulfilled His mission to teach and make disciples, ascended into the realm of the heavens, leaving His legacy of love and salvation. What legacy will those of us who have received Jesus’ teachings, leave in this world?
Christ in you, the hope of glory. That’s why glory matters.